The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU looks to leash ‘Dogs

The Red Zone
 SMU looks to leash Dogs
SMU looks to leash ‘Dogs

SMU looks to leash ‘Dogs

The Mustangs (1-5, 1-2 WAC) return home this weekend looking toright the ship after two tough conference road losses to Boise St.and Rice.

SMU held its own in Boise, but took its lumps in Houston fallingto the Owls 44-10. This weekend brings the Bulldogs of LouisianaTech to town.

Louisiana Tech (3-3, 2-0 WAC) has started conference with twovictories and hopes to stay tied for the conference lead with avictory.

Head Coach Phil Bennett expects more out of his team thisweekend after the performance at Rice.

“A disappointing game in Houston,” Bennett said.”We expected more, but we have to bounce back.”

 

Key Match-Up

La Tech’s Ryan Moats against the SMU Defense

The game will be decided simply in the Mustangs ability to stopMoats. Moats is leading the nation with 928 rushing yards despitebeing injured in the first quarter at Auburn and not playing thesecond half against Miami or Tennessee.

The only question mark is whether Moats will play on Saturday ashe battles a sprained foot/ankle that took him out of the Auburngame. When healthy, Moats can run over, around and by defenderswith his 200-pound frame and reported under 4.4 40.

The junior from Dallas is celebrating Ryan Moats’ Day onFriday at Bishop Lynch, his former high school, something thatBennett hopes doesn’t carry over to the weekend.

“Someone told me Friday’s Ryan Moats’ Day atBishop Lynch,” said Bennett. “Let’s just hopethat it doesn’t carry over to Ryan Moats’ Day onSaturday.”

SMU has a lot to prove on the defensive side of the ball aftergiving up 496 yards on the ground to Rice last Saturday. Bennettthinks his team is up to the task as he gave his front fourcompliments and said his team will bounce back.

The key to containing Moats is the Mustangs’ ability tomake tackles when they have a chance. Five of the top six tacklerson the Mustangs are in the secondary, led by Rolando Humphrey with44 tackles, and it shows their ability to make hits whenneeded.

On the flip side, the defensive backs are tackling a lot of guys6 to 7 yards down the field meaning the line needs to start holdingon to people.

The game hinges on the Mustangs ability to stop the run and putLA Tech in obvious passing situations. SMU will be in a position tothrow a roadblock into the Bulldogs’ race for the WACchampionship if they can shut down Moats.

 

X-Factors

La. Tech’s Freddie Franklin

The true freshman from New Orleans is the Bulldogs’alternative if Moats can’t go. Franklin’s performanceagainst Auburn caught LA Tech Head Coach Jack Bicknell’seye.

“I was excited to see Freddie Franklin rush for 75 yardson a good Auburn defense.” Bicknell said. “We have toapproach the game that if Ryan is not there, that we can becompetitive and win the game. “

Franklin had only appeared in one game prior to his coming outparty against the Tigers. The Bulldogs had hopes of red-shirtingFranklin giving him three years of handling the mail on his ownafter Moats graduates. Now, he is a 5.8 yards per rush insurancepolicy who has the fans in Ruston, La. buzzing about thefuture.

 

SMU’s Quarterback Situation

It is the consistent topic facing the SMU team this season andBennett recently changed his tune about the way the quarterbackswill be used.

“Whoever we name as starter [on Friday] will stay inthere, we will not have a rotation Saturday,” Bennettsaid.

Bennett didn’t rule out the chance that both quarterbackswill play, but he will not use the preset rotation seen in the lastfew games.

Tony Eckert and Jerad Romo have each had their ups and downsthis season, but neither player has distinguished himself as theclear starter. By allowing the starter to stay in the game, theMustangs hope to allow their starter to get in a rhythm and nothave to press to make plays, knowing he only has a limited numberof series before the next guy comes in.

Chris Phillips, the original starter at the quarterback spot, isapplying for a red-shirt that most likely will be granted due tohis lack of playing 20 percent of the games and his injured rotatorcuff. Whoever starts at quarterback must limit the turnovers andcreate sustained drives to keep Moats off the field to give theMustangs a chance at victory.

 

Inside the Bulldogs

Nightmare Schedule

Louisiana Tech is tired. Tired of seeing numbers beside thenames of their opponents representing the Top 25 teams in thecountry. In four successive weeks, the Bulldogs took on nationallyranked Miami, Tennessee, Fresno St. and Auburn.

The Bulldogs went 1-3 with the lone win against supposedBCS-buster Fresno St. in a brilliant 28-21 come-from-behind victoryin Ruston.

The losses weren’t pretty as they totaled 142-24 in theBulldogs’ opponents’ favor, but Bicknell took manystarters, including Moats, out of the second half of games toprevent injuries. The strategy has paid off as the victory overFresno leaves La. Tech 2-0 in the WAC, something Bicknell has takennotice of.

“It’s exciting to move on from that, stretch andfocus on WAC games,” said Bicknell. “Our guys knowwhat’s at stake and we are in great shape at 2-0 [inconference].”

Tech knows it has a chance to go to a bowl if it continues toroll in conference play. Expect a focused group this weekend as theBulldogs hope to keep pace with Boise St. at the top of theleague.

 

Inside the Mustangs

To the Point(s)

The Mustang offense has been on a roller coaster ride all seasonand it’s about time for another upswing.

The Mustangs are coming off a 10-point effort against a Riceteam that gave up 70 to San Jose St. (a team the Mustangs beat) andare averaging only 14.3 points a game on the season. Last week, theMustangs did see some promising performances in the loss they hopeto build on.

Cedrick Dorsey took advantage of his first extended playing timeof the year by running for 54 yards on 14 carries. Romo became theleading rusher on the year for the Mustangs as he ran for 66 yardson 10 carries and threw a touchdown. Eckert put up 138 yardsthrough the air on 14-of-22 passing and both quarterbacks found asecond option among the wideouts.

Chris Foster continues to be the main target among the receiversas he caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, but it wasBobby Chase that had the big weekend.

Chase had five catches for 92 yards, stats greater thanChase’s season totals before the game despite being astarter.

With the emergence of Chase and Dorsey, along with the continuedstrong play of Foster and the winner of the quarterback duel, theMustangs seem set to do some damage on offense. They certainly haveshown the ability to, scoring 36 in the last home game in the winover San Jose St. Look for SMU to utilize all of their weapons asthey get back into a groove and put some points on the board.

 

Close Strangers

Traveling from SMU to Louisiana Tech is only a four-hour drive,but rarely have the two teams seen each other on the footballfield.

The Bulldogs hold a 2-1 edge in a series that began in 2001. TheMustang victory came in the only game played in Dallas two seasonsago when the Ponies were 0-7.

The 37-34 upset made Bennett a winner for the first time as aDivision I head coach, and propelled the Mustangs to three wins intheir last five games. SMU hopes to start a similar winning stretch5 p.m. Saturday in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

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